Thursday, March 08, 2007

Raw Cho

I've had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Margaret Cho about a half dozen times now, I think. The first time was at the W Hotel in Union Square during 2001 in her room. We both marveled at the $6 bottle of artisan water sitting on a desk, as she contemplated whether to open and drink it (and thus be billed for it).

Last time was in Toronto, Canada, during September 2005, where her new movie was making its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (putting it diplomatically, the still unreleased film is a mite problematic). She was as forthcoming as ever. And un-PC. And even put in a phone call to a Cho-infatuated Toronto friend of mine and made his life (for that week).

Unlike with some celebrities - to remain nameless right now - with whom asking questions is like walking on eggshells and you may incur the wrath of a publicist or handler later on, no question is too outrageous for Margaret. Really, how could it be?

In 2003 I interviewed her to discuss and promote the "Revolution" tour. The conversation was funny, and a little sordid and even offensive in spots. In part because I was OBSESSED with the absurd concept of barebacking. (I'm still obsessed with it, as it represents the anthithesis of everything I learned and witnessed during the tail end of AIDS' first relentless wave of devastation and the activism and community cohesiveness it spawned). This uncut, raunchy, potentially offensive version of the Q&A has never seen print or posting before. It's an interesting moment to look back on it - Anna Nicole comes up, and so does the Governator prior to his election win.

I know a few Cho fans out there will enjoy. So please do!

And thanks Margaret! See you soon?


Viva La Revolution!

by Lawrence Ferber

Margaret Cho is revolting... yet again!
The socially conscious gay fave has hysterically gone to heads with body issues, evil TV execs, chemical addictions, and S&M clubs during taboo-smashing, roaringly raunchy live engagements/films/CDs like “I’m The One That I Want” and last year’s “Notorious C.H.O.” Now the funny lady is back with “Revolution,” a politically-infused comedy tour.
“It’s mostly about what’s going on and happening with politics, the world, all of these things that are so crazy,” she proffers. “The whole gubernatorial recall in California - I know everybody’s going to vote for Arnold because they think he’s a robot from the future! People are so stupid! And it’s so not OK because they’re talking about the future of the state. A very important state, and it’s just insane.”
Besides current political events, Cho touches upon eating disorders, fashion’s evils, losing bowel control in transit, and her “Ass Master”-loving Korean mother.
Keeping busy offstage, Cho is working on projects as varied as a clothing line and a rap album. To discuss these developments and hot topics like gay marriage, the California governor debacle, and “Gay Aitken,” I spoke with the refreshingly un-PC Cho.

So about this California governor thing... you think Arnold’s gonna win.

“What we’re seeing is the cult of personality confused with politics and this has been happening since Ronald Reagan. I thought we’d learned our lesson there, but obviously we haven’t.”

I’d trust Alec Baldwin if he ran for a political seat.

“I like Alec Baldwin a lot. He’s also somebody who probably would be very prudent about something like running for office. So would other political celebrities such as Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. They’d be very selective in terms of running. Also, they’re pretty liberal so their views are pretty out there when it comes to the political landscape. They’re pretty far to the left. I would prefer that if we’re talking about actors running.”

How about Gary Coleman?

“Well, I like Gary better [than Arnold]. It’s so funny because he’s been through a lot of hard times, to hell and back, and I think there’s a lot of intelligence and soulfulness there. And you know he’s gonna use the phrase ‘whatchoo talking about Congress?’ I think that in itself is a reason to vote for him. But for me I think it’s going to be Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante all the way if there’s a recall at all, which I don’t think there should be anyway.”

What do you think of the music industry’s downloading crackdown? We’re seeing 12 year olds sued for pirating music.

“I think MP3s and all of that haven’t hurt the music industry. It certainly hasn’t hurt me - I’ve had a lot of my stuff downloaded and I don’t really care... as long as my stuff’s out there it’s getting messages out there. Of course, [music] artists are going to feel differently about it. Besides, [I don’t even understand the technology]! I’m still having problem with Atari’s Pong! I’m not very computer savvy, so God bless them for knowing what to do but I don’t know... Internet worms - that’s a little much. It’s mean. I don’t want a virus - I don’t want to have to put a condom on my computer. It’s not fair!”

It’s an infected society we live in.

“It’s so infected, it’s got cooties.”

Speaking of society, isn’t it funny that the same people who respond to polls with “I loves that Queer Eye, it’s so funny!” will also come out with “I ain’t not want any of them faggots to get married!”

“I know! It’s so crazy! It’s as if gays are good enough to redo their house, they can definitely be of service to the straight community, but they don’t want them to actually be equal. That’s what’s happening. In the political arena it’s not possible for gays to get married and they’re actually considering amendments to ban gay marriage. But in the culture of America we’re seeing interior designers as the new rock stars.”

So it’s kind of like “I love Prince and Destiny’s Child, but I don’t want no niggers votin’!”

“Yes. It’s similar to when there was segregation and all the kids were listening to Little Richard and Chuck Berry. It’s an outrage. It’s unfair. It’s inequitable and something that needs to be dealt with. People of color [experienced] the same kind of civil rights movement the gays experience now. There needs to be more support with the people of color understanding that, too. Imagine if the Million Man March was combined with the HRC March on Washington and the NOW Feminists and all the different benevolent associations happening in Chinatown. It would be very exciting!”

What about Barebacker Marriage?

“(laughs) Barebacking! That’s very irresponsible, I don’t understand what the fallout is with safe sex. It’s a drag and annoying, but at the same time a lot of us have grown up with it and don’t know anything else. It seems like such a strange phenomomen.”

Do you know any barebackers?

“I do! And people who [say they] don’t bareback are lying! They’re just lying because almost everybody I know is a barebacker, but not all the time. Of course we always remember we’ve got to be conscious of that stuff.”

I heard something really scary. You know how you might overhear straight guys watching girls and saying “I”d fuck her,” “I’d give her a baby,” etc. There were some clearly pro-barebacking Chelsea boys in an outdoor cafe cruising guys and commenting “I’d seed him” and “I’d give that guy a gift.”

“A gift! A gift! Uhhhhh! In a little blue Tiffany box. It’s so sweet, adorable.”

Do you think Schwarzenegger will give California a gift?

“I hope he does. I hope he gives us a big ol’ gift. He’s not the muscles from Brussels, is he? Oh, that’s Van Damme. I keep forgetting. I get them confused. It’s just crazy. People are forgetting this is actual government and politics in the real world, we don’t live in the movies.”

Let’s talk Anna Nicole. I heard you discuss your infamous appearance on her show (Cho made out with Anna) during Revolution.

“I love Anna Nicole Smith. The kiss was totally co-opted by Madonna [on the MTV Video Awards]! And Christina and Britney, which I love by the way. I did make out with her because I didn’t really know what to say. You know when you hang out with somebody and don’t know what to talk to them about, you just kinda make out.”

How much of Anna is an act?

“I don’t know. She’s a good kisser. She’s sexy.”

Did any bits of food get in your mouth during the kiss?

“No no no no. She was sexy and didn’t have any food in her mouth. I was just bored and didn’t have anything else to do.”

Would you like to make out with Bobby Trendy?

“Yeah, but then I would get that orange makeup all over my face. He needs to get the proper foundation. Go to the Prescriptives counter and have them mix him up a formula for women of color because obviously he’s using pan stick by Revlon or something because he’s so orange.”

Would you like to do a reality show? What’s the pitch?

“I don’t know. I think it would just be me being a monster, which is what I am. I’m a showbuisness monster so that’s probably what my whole identity would be.”

Who’s the strangest celeb you’ve ever run into? Richard Simmons?

“Oh, he’s great. I sat next to him on a plane and he was so cute. He was going to try and lecture me on diet and then he put his leg around his head. And this was on a plane!”

Was he wearing glitter short shorts?

“Oh yes! He was so glittery and wearing a tank top and it was snowing. And dolphin shorts. He wears it all the time.”

How would you describe his scent? Was there an odor?

“He was kind of lemony, a pink lemonade smell. Not lemonade but pink lemonade. Citrusy.”

I wonder if he barebacks.

“Oh gosh, who knows! Remember when he was in a lawsuit, some kind of weird crazy thing where he was sexually harassing somebody? I can’t even picture that. I don’t even know if the case went to court. He’s a great guy. I adore him. I think he has a boyfriend. I want him to have a boyfriennd so bad.”

Maybe Clay Aitken! How gay is Clay Aitken?

“Oh God!!! GAY Aitken? He is a gay, seriously. Kathy Griffin is so funny, I was just with her the other day and she had the Rolling Stone with Clay Aitken on the cover and she goes ‘how is this not The Advocate?’”

Loved that issue’s cover line - “Growing Up Clay.” Very sly!

“Clay Gay. Look at him. How much more openly gay can he be? It’s like, I’m sorry, but he’s just a gay.”

If your mom met him, what would she say?

“(in mother’s clipped-English voice) ‘Is he the gay?’ I would say, well, I don’t know if he’s ‘the’ gay. He’s not the only one.”

What’s happening in your personal life?

“I’m really goth. I’m super goth. People don’t realize that about me. I’m almost from Florida, that’s how goth I am. I also put out a fashion clothing line called High Class Cho which is online at It’s so Beyonce. I’m recording a rap record next week. I’m MC MC. All my raps are about healthcare and brushing your teeth, flossing, the food pyramid. My record’s called ‘I’m Your MD.’”

Will there be a bareback rap?

“There actually is! It’s called ‘I want FTDs, not STDs.’ FTDs as in flowers. STDs as in herpes. That’s about to drop in a couple of weeks.”

Seeing any boys or girls right now romantically?

“Everybody! Who am I not seeing? I’m so busy and swamped I can’t do anything... so yes and no. I just go to sex clubs because it’s much easier for me.”

Have you ever fucked a guy in the butt with a dildo?

“Yes, I had to use a really small one because he was such a baby about it. It was like a finger. I didn’t find it that satisfying. I just don’t get the whole strap-on excitement because I can’t feel anything from it. The whole double-dong thing with women, nobody likes it. It’s something for porno. The only thing anybody ever uses is the Hitachi Magic Wand. That’s the only thing a lesbian needs for anything. And I can see the homophobia in the world because I went to a lesbian resort and they had placed the electrical outlet so far away from the bed I considered that a hate crime. That was really bad.”

Do you at least have time to masturbate between it all?

“You know, sometimes that falls to the wayside! I have to tie a little ribbon around my finger so I remember to.”

See for all things Margarett: tour dates, articles, goods, and her hysterical blog.

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